Marketers, What To Give Your Consumers That’s Not Crap

I wrote this blog post for you. Yes, you.  You, reading this right now with your eyeballs.  I took time out of my day to sit down and write this just for you.

It’s Like a Present, But Way Better

If you have practiced any form of marketing over the last 35 years you have heard phrases like “target market”, “ROI”, “tactics and strategies”, and the like.  And while those are all perfectly good terms in their own right (and must be used correctly in any marketing campaign), they tend to “corporate-ize” what us marketers’ job really is.  To connect with our audience.

What is it that marketers actually give the audiences they reach out to?

  • Stock e-mails
  • Witty slogans
  • 3-Tiered Product Launches with Social Media Applicability
  • etc.

Do you know what most marketers don’t give their consumers that usually makes all the difference?

A damn

Here’s a list of the most common customer complaints in general:

  • You said you would fix this, and it’s not fixed
  • I keep getting passed from one person to the next
  • Nobody tells me anything
  • It’s like you don’t even care
  • You were just plain rude
  • No one told me I would need all this other stuff when I bought this
  • I can get this from almost anywhere

Did you notice a trend?  Not one of the complaints was anything close to “Well, I was expecting at least 2 more rollouts before the product launch and I was very distraught,” or “I expected to be able to not only Tweet this information from your site, but also post it to Yelp! and you didn’t let me. My day is officially ruined!”

Publix Display of Affections

My wife does most of the grocery shopping.  And no, it’s not because I’m some sort of chauvinist, cooking is her way of relaxing (read her blog about it here).

She always goes to Publix (not an affiliate link) and it’s not because it’s on her way home (she actually has to take the long way) and it is not because there are no other grocery stores around (there’s a Kroger less than a mile from our house).  She goes to Publix because, “When I’m there I feel like they actually care that I’m shopping there and most of the time they know the answers to the questions I have.”

There it is again.  Not color-scheme, not product distribution/arrangement.  It’s just that she has the feeling that Publix (and it’s employees) actually give a damn that she shops there.

Hey, Pssst!

So what does it take to make someone feel like you give two shakes of a scalded cat’s tail about them?  Through my extensive research and conversations with the monks of Nepal, I think I have found the secret answer that I will share with you now; but shhhhhhhh, it’s a secret…

Listen to them.

There’s a lot of clichés about the importance of listening (God gave us two ears and one, blah, blah, blah, blah) but it’s pretty simple to figure out.

  • When do you feel most cared about?
  • When do you feel that your needs are being addressed?
  • When do you leave an argument feeling better?

I’d be willing to bet it’s when you felt like you’ve been listened to.

Go-Go Gadget Ears!

So that’s all well and good, right?  How do you actually start to listen in social media if this is all new to you?  Here are some ways that I have found work for me and the companies I work with.

  • Set up Google Alerts for the name of your company and keywords you care about.  For example, I have ones sen to me everyday on “Joey Strawn”, “personal branding”, “social media marketing”, “Twitter marketing”, and “Through a New Lens”.  What is important to you?
  • LinkedIn is a great place to not only meet colleagues, but also to find out what they might be saying about you.  Check the “Answers” sections for questions about your services or products.  Start a page where people can follow you and start discussions (sometimes it helps to open an avenue to bring the people who need to be heard to you).
  • Are you on Facebook?  Maybe you should be.
  • Twitter searches are great because they let you monitor conversation about your company or issues in real-time and be there to address them.  It always looks better when you respond quickly to an important issue or question.
  • Set up Blog searches through places like Google Blogsearch, Technorati, Mashable, Blogcatalog, or any numerous others.

Pretty groundbreaking stuff, I know.  But listening isn’t hard either and we don’t do it half the time.

So use those ears. You got them for a reason.

And you might think I’m all talk, but I wrote this post for a reason (I write it for you, remember).  Tell me what you think.  I love comments and discussions.  They are how I learn.

What are your best tips for listening online?   Did I miss anything you think is important?

Come on.  I’m all ears.


About Joey Strawn

Digital marketing sociologist and public relations specialist with experience on national and local campaigns with a love for film and the things it says about our culture and business. Joey is the Senior Social Media Strategist at ISM in Nashville, TN and is in the business of helping people and companies deal with the new universe of social media in their marketing and PR endeavors.
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